There, I said it. The iPhone needs a bigger screen. I know it, you know it, everybody knows it. Samsung knows it, Motorola knows it, Sony knows it. Why doesn’t Apple know it?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that I’ve lost the plot, in truth that might well be the case. I certainly believe that years, and I mean years, of staring longingly at the beautiful, spacious screens of my Android-wielding amigos has finally induced an acute awareness of my iPhone’s pixel deficiency.
My tirade was triggered by a couple of very recent concepts and leaks surrounding the next instalment of the iPhone. At the beginning of last month I covered a fantastic iPhone 6 concept created by Federico Ciccarese, who created a stunning rendering of a curved iPhone, reminiscent of Apple’s Magic Mouse. The most enticing prospect of his particular design was the larger, 4.7″ edge-to-edge display that just looked… better.
Now of course, a full edge-to-edge display is not necessarily a practical solution to a mobile screen because of the likelihood of accidental input. But a 4.7 inch display? We’re not exactly sending men to the moon here…
The same sentiment was present in yesterday’s iPhone 6 rumor, which appeared to show an iPhone 6 faceplate, with much thinner bezels at each end of the device, and no apparent bezels to the sides. Today, we brought you a brilliant iPhone C concept, again based around a 4.7 inch display, that leaves only a hairline bezel to the side of the devices display. Of course, these are rumors and postulations, the pipe dreams of designers, but the sentiment is the same here as it is in the public forum. iOS consumers far and wide are clamouring for an iPhone with a larger display, and I fear that absence of a larger display at Apple’s next iPhone launch could be disastrous for Apple’s credibility and success.
For a very long time, I’ve found myself content with Apple’s current iPhone screen size, but I can no longer accept that notion as acceptable, I now assuredly believe that the iPhone’s display is perhaps its weakest feature. Over a year ago, at the beginning of October, Sharp launched the first 1080p phone, which offered a staggering 117 extra pixels per inch over the iPhone 5’s 1136×640 display. Since then, Apple’s competitors have adopted 1080p displays as the standard of mobile display technology in a smartphone. A MWC this year, the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Xperia Z2 and the LG G Pro 2 all entered the fray packing 1920×1080 displays that make the iPhone’s display look pitiful. Perhaps more infuriating, Apple brought us the iPhone 5 at the end of 2012, and had the audacity to act as though a 16:9 display was a revolutionary breakthrough.
Recently, I tried to play a couple of EA titles on my iPhone, FIFA 14 and Madden 25. Both of these are really fun titles that I had enjoyed on the iPad, and they both boasted very slick touch controls. Yet on the iPhone I found that at any one time, up to half of the device’s screen could become obscured by my thumbs during playtime, and I do not have large hands… If my phone’s display is so small that using basic touch controls during gaming obscures my view of 50% of the device’s display, then something is seriously wrong. It also infuriates me that I can clock 4G speeds of 4oMbps on a moving bus in Edinburgh, yet I can’t watch HD video in its native resolution. The nature of Apple’s iPhone display also means that pictures often look stunning on the smaller screen, yet when I open them up on a computer, much of the image’s quality is lost, simply because I’m no longer viewing the photo in its native resolution.
I could go on. But it’s clear that the iPhone’s small display can be source of a lot of user issues. Ever since it was revealed that the iPhone 5s was to feature the same display as the iPhone 5, the iPhone has become the laughing-stock of the Android world, as manufacturer after manufacturers continue to release devices with display that surpass the iPhone immensely.
For a long time, Apple’s marketing strategy has often revolved around convincing its customers that they understand their customers needs better than they do. However right now, I’m convinced that, in terms of the iPhone’s next display this ploy will not work again. Apple needs to significantly step up its game if the next iPhone is to seriously compete with flagship Android phones that have long enjoyed display superiority.
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